Advocacy Updates from Indiana Library Federation
February 8, 2019
In this issue of your ILF Advocacy Update
  • Quick Links
  • Spotlight on HB1343, Libraries and our ILF Response
What YOU can do
What you missed in prior issues - Catch up here.
Indiana Library Federation Links
Spotlight on HB1343 - Libraries and our ILF response
Library governance, funding and accountability are the subject of questions by policymakers. HB1343 was heard in the House Local Government Committee on Jan. 31. (Find links below.) HB1343 would create binding authority over library budgets by the elected fiscal body. The bill co-authors described concerns expressed by local taxpayers about their desire for greater input into library decisions. They raised questions about public notice provisions and transparency, amounts of reserves, salary levels and more.

Kristi Howe , Director of Vigo County Public Library and co-chair of the ILF Advocacy Committee, provided a consolidated response to concerns. Jackie Nytes , Director of Indianapolis Public Library, shared how Marion County is often treated differently by state law and how her library service area aligns with county lines, unlike many library and jurisdictional lines around Indiana. They both underscored the levels of accountability required under the current law. Together, their testimony detailed four main ideas:
  • Library boards are appointed by elected bodies under IC 36-12-2-7 to 17. The independent authority granted to public library boards is intended to preserve the historical role as a source of unbiased information.
  • Information contained on Indiana Gateway for Government Units requires context, as it provides a level of transparency but does not tell the complete story, including disbursement dates, capital improvement plans and related to salary information, graduate degrees and years of service by staff.
  • Current law and processes provide multiple levels of accountability and transparency for libraries, as they follow budget, audit, open door and reporting requirements under Indiana Code, IN Dept. of Local Government Finance, IN State Board of Accounts, Indiana State Library, Indiana Gateway and more.
  • Libraries model taxpayer stewardship and budget frugality.
After committee discussion, the chairman asked Indiana Library Federation to work with the bill co-authors on amendment language that would address concerns. The ILF Advocacy Committee discussed various options to address concerns. The bill is anticipated to be heard again on Thursday, Feb. 14, 8:30am.

Key links include our ILF detailed response and video link of hearing (select 1/31 and fast forward to about 1:00, as HB1343 was heard around 9:35-10:05 am.)
What YOU can do :
  1. Learn more about this bill and other library-related bills. Attend the Virtual Advocacy Update on Feb. 11.
  2. Communicate how they are operating by the law and best practices. Public Libraries should share long-range plans, including capital improvement plans.
  3. Thank legislators for questions. Use the opportunity to educate and gain a supporter.
What YOU can do: Visit the Statehouse and Meet with Your Legislators
The Indiana Library Day at the Statehouse will be held Tuesday, March 12 . Plan to attend and bring a board member or community library champion. Register today. Participants are provided an update at ISL and then are accompanied by experienced advocates to meetings with your legislators. Note: we also are looking for a few volunteer photographers. Email us to volunteer or with questions.

Photo above: Sen. Brian Buchanan (middle right) with Nick Schenkel , Tina Emerick and Scott Tracey at the 2018 Statehouse Day.
What YOU can do: Attend Advocacy Update on Feb. 11
ILF offers bi-weekly Advocacy Virtual Updates during the legislative session. Learn the inside scoop from our Advocacy Committee co-chairs and staff. Share what you are hearing about issues in your local community. Ask questions. Learn more about the issues.

RSVP for the VIRTUAL Advocacy Update at 10am ET on Feb. 11 to receive the link to join the online meeting by computer or telephone. Note that sessions are scheduled bi-weekly: 2/11, 2/25, 3/11, 3/25 and 4/8.
What YOU can do: Attend a Third House or Meet Your Legislator event
Legislators meet with constituents through "Meet your Legislator," "Third House" or "Cracker Barrel" events from December through May. Sessions are often hosted by a local library, chamber of commerce or League of Women Voters. See our calendar for upcoming Third House events in your area . Several are coming up in the next two weeks.

Prepping to Meet Your Legislator
  1. Find your legislators where you live and where you work. Research their bio and committees. Or email us for insight and tips.
  2. Download the 2019 Policy Priorities or one-pager. Email us for specific information and let us know what you learn. Develop a relationship.
  3. Plan to develop or deepen your relationships with legislators and key influencers in the community. Introduce yourself. Offer to be a resource for them about any library questions.